To buy a flat with no outside space with 2 kids - am I making a mistake??(264 Posts)
Back story is that I split from my ex 3 years ago, the divorce came through last year and he bought me out of our marital home. I have been renting, and am now trying to buy somewhere.
I've got 2 boys who are 10 and 7. 10 year old has ASD and loves football, so at the moment he is outside a lot of the time playing football. Our current rental property has a large shared courtyard (concrete, rather than grass) where he does this. 7 year old prefers lego and playing inside, and is a bit of a nightmare to try and encourage outside.
I've found a place that I like (and the kids like), but it's a flat, in a very large complex (80+ flats), and with no outside space. The nearest park would be a 10 minute walk away. With 10 year old's ASD, I couldn't let him go there by himself at the moment, and it will be tricky to encourage 7 yo to come with us.
I love the flat, but the lack of outside space really worries me. I can't afford anything bigger (ie a small house with a garden) in the same area, so the alternative would be to look further out but be in the car more. This flat means we could walk to school/work/shops etc. Being able to walk to places is one of my main priorities - my mental health really suffers being reliant on a car to get everywhere.
AIBU to move from a rental place with some outside space, to somewhere with none? (If it makes any difference, their Dad's house, where they spend half of their time, is a huge 5 bed detached house with a big garden. This would be a 3 bed flat)
It would definitely be a deal breaker for me.
If there was no asd, or both (or neither) liked to be outside, it might be an option but I can't see it working in your current situation.
I would keep looking
Honestly? I really wouldn’t OP, especially not with two boys. I think it would very quickly drive you all insane. Even when it’s drizzly or cold children love to have a quick whizz around the garden, in Summer it’s just nice to sit outside after school or early evening. I would rule this one out I’m afraid.
I have 2 boys same age. We were in a small first floor flat. I felt suffocated to death. Don't do it. Keep looking. ....
7 year old would be fine but 10 year old needs to burn off energy, he won’t cope with no outside space.
No I wouldn’t. Flats are suffocating to me especially if there isn’t even a balcony communal garden or park. House every time if you can afford it.
I guess it depends what your alternatives are but I would definitely be willing to compromise on inside space to give DS10 some outside space. Exercise is a great stress reliever - particularly for a child with ASD.
tbh I wouldn't
I wish developers would be obliged to include a playground/communal outside space.
keep looking for a space nearer a park out with outside space.
I would keep renting rather than purchase without a garden.
I would hold out for one by a green, and/or park.
We've moved us and our two kids into a small two bed flat with no garden etc. But we do have a park just down from us, and some green space opposite the building.
We cannot get better than this for the deposit we had and the mortgage we were able to get.
Have a look for a little bit more.
My boys are much younger but we currently live in a flat with no outside space and it's suffocating, for me and them. We have a park across the road but it isn't the same, I constantly feel shut in here. Fortunately we are moving soon and will have a lovely big garden to use. Tbh I can't wait to simply dry my washing outside instead of having to find space for the drying racks!
I haven’t been in your situation but I liked living in a flat with my toddler, could walk to leisure centre, park, library in 5 minutes so never had to worry about parking, running a car, gardening etc. Could you take 7 year old to the park but let them sit on a picnic blanket and do Lego? See the website minimalist mom about the upside of living in a small flat with boys before you decide.
Do you know if children play safely in the streets? I live in a cul-de-sac in a very quiet area. I have a front and back garden but when my son plays out it is usually with kids who live in the area. Either in one of the other kids garden or they play in the street or a grassy area. I did not want him to do it at first because he has autism but it has been a really good thing for him.
We do use the garden for sitting out in when the weather is nice. My ds loves having his paddling pool and tent in the garden in the summer months.
It is a difficult decision for you OP. I love my garden and would miss it if I did not have it but sometimes I hate have to maintain it. Having no garden is one less thing to have to look after and spend money on.
Do you know if children play safely in the streets?
No, it's city centre living, so the roads around the flat are super busy.
Not selling this very well! The flat itself is really fabulous!
We have the shared courtyard at the moment and a small patio bit outside our house. We also live opposite a large park, which we don't use very often but it's great to have it there for when we want to.
I didn't think about the washing thing - yes that's another thing we do use the current outside space for. I think I feel a bit sad about the lack of football for DS1, and the lack of fun stuff like water fights that we get to do at the moment.
The flat is totally unsuitable for your dc no matter how ‘fabulous’ you think it is.
How come your ex did so much better out of the divorce, OP? That's a terrible discrepancy.
Agree with Hollow. Another rubbish Dad who sees himself OK while his DCs and their mother struggle. I hope OP lets them know this when they are adults and old enough to understand.
I would be looking for a flat with a share of freehold. If you can find a Victorian conversion they often have a share of the garden as well with a fires escape/steps down to a portion of the garden.
Even with your issues with the boys and outside space I'd be wary of taking on a flart in a large block. The service charges on a big block can be high and if they do any "block works" such as installing new fire doors, replacing carpets, repairing roof, gutterings etc , painting you will get hit with a massive bill (due to high tenders and levy fees for the managing agents who are keen to do such works as they earn them extra money) it can be never ending and hard to sell on ( take it from someone who has been "stung")
Maybe the OP couldn’t afford to run the house on her own? Maybe listen to why her ex bought her out before condemning him?
It may be justifiable but might not be. It’s hard to say without knowing all the facts.
I couldn't cope with it. Nearby parks won't make up for having your doors open all summer with the kids able to run in and out of the garden freely. I would rather rent or move further out to get a garden.
This flat isn't the home for you. Keep renting, and keep looking.
When is he 11?
would he go off to park safely on his own?
Complete deal breaker for me, no matter how fabulous. You need outside space to hang washing for 3 people and the 10 year old needs a safe space to play.
Walking a lot is do-able anywhere so the fact that you'd need to drive to school etc wouldn't bother me.,
It feels very wrong that he's kncoking around a five bed detached (presumably on his own) while you're raising two boys in a tiny flat. That's very unfair.
I'd keep looking, OP. I appreciate that being able to walk is good for your mental health, but having outside space is very good for children, if you possibly can.
No. I wouldn't.
I would never buy another flat for various reasons.
In your situation I would hold out for a house with a bit of garden. Even a tiny house is better than a flat.
Flats are always complicated by leasehold, ground rent, service charges and multiple neighbours.
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